Allergy season is here, and did you know your dog can suffer from seasonal allergies just like people?

This time of year, it is common for dogs to be scratching a lot more than usual. Often, this can be attributed to some kind of allergy, but it’s always important to contact your veterinarian for an examination to determine the cause and start a management plan to get your pup feeling better.

What is canine Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic Dermatitis in dogs develops as the result of a genetic defect in the immune system, causing an abnormal response in the body to various environmental triggers.

Seasonal allergies affect both people and dogs, but the way our immune systems react is quite different from one another. While humans typically inhale allergens and then develop symptoms like runny noses, dogs tend to absorb allergens through their skin – resulting in a cascade of events that cause itching and inflammation.

What are the signs?

Clinical signs of allergic dogs can include itchy paws, ears (or recurrent ear infections), armpits and abdomen. Depending on what the dog is allergic to, the itching may be seasonal or non-seasonal, and generally begins around 1-3 years of age.

Another sign of allergies in dogs can be licking or chewing their paws. This can also be a sign of bacterial or yeast infections, parasites, food allergies, contact reactions, or even neurologic sensations from orthopedic problems.

Managing the condition

Managing the itch that results from Atopic Dermatitis involves controlling both the itchiness and managing and preventing any secondary infections that may occur as a result of a defective skin barrier. Short-term symptomatic therapies can include an array of topical and oral medications. 

For a longer-term option, “allergy vaccines” are developed based on the results of allergy testing and can result in hyposensitisation by administering progressively increasing concentration of allergens. Over a period of time, this can result in clinical remission of allergies. 

If your dog is experiencing any of these signs, contact us here to make an appointment for an evaluation to pinpoint the cause and get your best friend feeling better.